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China Buries Companions of the Dead 1200 BC

The Chinese people view the divine and the mortal world as two intertwined spheres. This belief has always been a strong part of the Chinese culture and it has played a role with shaping how this particular cultural group views life and death. The Chinese people also view life as a continuation of the present reality. They claim that their departed relatives are able to commune with gods and other spirits. So they pray to them and worship them for this purpose. During ancient times they had a practise of burying the companions of the dead.  This is found on the Bible Timeline Chart around 1200 BC.

In 1200 B.C. the Shang Dynasty ruled China and this time period is considered one of the best in the history of the Chinese people. The burial customs of the people had been altered during the rule of the Shang clan. In the early part of the 20th century archaeologists in China unearthed massive graves and the gravesites of ancient Chinese rulers. Starting with the gravesites of the ancient Shang rulers, historians were able to analyze how the emperors and people of high status were buried.

Ancient Shang rulers were buried with various members of their families and some of their possessions. When they passed away they were buried with many of their servants who were put to death because they were considered a part of the dead ruler’s life. Many of their servants, concubines, and attendants had to accept the fact that when their ruler died so would they.

Thousands of slaves were also found in the huge grave sites and they too were buried as objects that belong to the emperor. Archaeologists found Bronze vessels in many graves of the Shang rulers and these pots held food such as meat, fish, scorched bread and vegetables. The pots were also placed in the grave so that they could be used by the emperors in the spiritual realm. Some Shang emperors buried their wives in their grave sites as well but this practice began to fade with time. The spirits of the deceased were supposed to remain close to the gravesites where their bodies were placed. So the utensils were also available for the departed spirits to use when they were needed.

Most people who buried during the Shang period were placed in massive graves with their fellow countrymen. The Shang people might have believed that the emperors and those with money might have been gods but the average person was barely recognized as worthwhile.

Chinese_Bury_Companion_of_the_Dead

Oracle bones pit at Yin

Oracle bones were detailed inscriptions of the past life of the Shang people. These bones also went into detail about how the dead were buried. Tens of thousands of these bones were discovered and archaeologists decipher them in order to find out information about the burial customs of the Shang people.

Chinese people never buried their leaders with companions as if they were united with one type of person that would go on into the afterlife with them. The massive grave sites of the emperors always revealed that their burial grounds were used as a form of status and importance.

References
http://www.oldandsold.com/articles03/china_ceramics3.shtml

http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/article_index/b/burial_practices_in_china.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shang_Dynasty#Archeology_of_the_Early_Bronze_Age_in_the_Yellow_River_valley

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Oracle_bones_pit.JPG

 

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